Stuart Stevens, who ran the GOP’s 2012 presidential campaign:
“Trump is a nut, and he likes to surround himself with nuts. It’s a disaster for the Republican Party.”
I’d have a tough time disagreeing with Stevens. However, I could mention ways in which the Democratic Party could match the Republicans in what I would consider nutty behavior, such as the Democrats support for so many wars (including the drug war), support for corporate trade agreements (NAFTA and the TPP), and support for dictators and extremist groups over the years (Saudi Arabia ring a bell?). Also, though it’s easy to pick on Trump for his border wall obsession, it should be remembered that Obama actually deported more immigrants than George W. Bush did. So, even based on that, it’s debatable to what extent the Democrats are less xenophobic than Republicans. Maybe Democrats are just quieter about it, making it seem more normal and right? Either way, they clearly also want to keep many people away from this country and its resources, whcih is essentially the same thing Democrats criticize
But the larger point is that the system is nuts. I can’t help but feel society and culture plays a role. We’re supposed to support this crazy system, and many of us do go along with it, because the government always presents itself as being normal. In fact, it is regarded as setting societal norms.
So when Bush suggested the US would show humility in international affairs, we were supposed to believe him and smile about it. If it blatantly contradicts that principle in its policies, we don’t even have to notice. We’re just doing the best we can under the circumstances which we are said to overwhelmingly control and manipulate.
Like I’ve said many times, most people want to believe they are good, so they’ll at least present themselves as desiring to avoid conflict. For example, in “A NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY FOR A NEW CENTURY” in 1999, the White House said, “In every case, we will consider several critical questions before
committing military force: Have we explored or exhausted non-military
means that offer a reasonable chance of achieving our goals? Is there a
clearly defined, achievable mission?”
No one who has paid attention to recent history would believe this process is actually taken seriously. The US does not require an achievable mission, and, practically speaking, nothing a government ever does or ever will do needs to be clearly defined. They are ultimately abstract, collectivist entities which only exist because people believe in them, and enforce their wills to the extent that they can. Force is how they are defined, with language added only to convince people that what’s being done is necessary. Either that or people are distracted from what’s going on almost entirely, in which case it’s even truer that nothing need be defined. Many, if not most, of the goals of policy are secret, and irrelevant to the general population, and many people actually don’t care about military force, as long as it’s not applied directly against them or loved ones. This has been demonstrated again and again, and not just by American society, by any means. However, some are blocked from seeing it — and its consequences — because they’re told it’s all normal.
But, normal or not, what’s a possible consequence for doing what one wants and sometimes pushing others around? Retaliation, and sometimes violent retaliation. I don’t want to be misunderstood here. I’m not saying being bullied justifies murder, or that ISIS and the Taliban are victims. I’m saying I understand a lot of the rage people feel at US foreign policy. If I felt greatly victimized somehow, a number of people could creep into my life and convince me to join in retaliating against the perceived aggressor, and bully me into it as well. This is an example of what happens with two warring camps who do not listen to reason. How could I disagree with the point one is making if the alternative is death, incarceration, or at least a great deal of ridicule? I could disagree, but at a cost. It’s apparent that ISIS was partly formed from the mass incarceration period of the 2nd Gulf War. While penned inside these prisons, toxic ideologies were more easily spread, much like how prisons increase criminal gangs here in the United States. Perhaps this is the formula: Offer people little to live for and teach them death as a way of life, and they’ll probably act accordingly.
Now, I don’t want to pick on sports too much, but this all reminds me of a game. And sure, I don’t particularly like sports, but I suppose we all like “to dominate” in one sense or another. The question is, where do we draw the line?
Even if you think it’s okay to dominate others, those others may not agree.
In closing, there is this idea, which I propose as a different rule to play the game by, and to win by becoming saner:
“If you want to be free, there is but one way; it is to guarantee an
equally full measure of liberty to all your neighbors. There is no other.”
Carl Schurz (1829-1906)